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FORGET RADIO 

Bands Rock the Internet for fun and profit

Come hell or high water, every week I get an e-mail updating me on an area rock band. I've never seen them or heard their music, and despite all attempts to unsubscribe myself from their list, "I've got mail" each week.

Considering that local bands have about as much luck getting played on radio as Janet Jackson co-hosting Rev. James Dobson's show, using the Internet to drum up support isn't a bad idea.

Scores of artists these days are selling their songs and CDs on the Internet, posting their performance dates, and other info for their fans.

But for a monster band like U2, the Internet has becoming its electronic PR person, ticket broker, sales tool, and historian, all in a click over to U2.com. I found this out when I went to the band's official website to find out their 2005 world tour dates.

Not only were there tour dates, but also digital downloads linked to the dollar-a-song iTunes site, naturally due to the big U2-iPod partnership. You can view ancient videos, like Bono and the lads in 1980, singing "I Will Follow" over a dreadful green-screen backdrop of the album cover, all with Duran Duran-like hair. Jaw-dropping stuff.

Then, for the sum for $40, you can become a "member" and get early access to tickets before they go on sale. (That proved to be a bust, when scalpers joined for the cheap fee and blew out most other fans' chances for those tickets.)

You can check out a discography, lyrics, and for $500, buy a limited-edition lithograph of band artwork. Video may have killed the radio star, but the web has put another nail in the coffin.

Another big radio name in town has flown the coop. KISS-FM's Adam Smasher signed off last week with no fanfare. He and employer Infinity Broadcasting couldn't agree to a new deal, so off he goes.

Smasher had been in the Charlotte market for seven years. He'll stay on as co-host of WCCB-TV's Fox News Rising morning show.

The trial pitting former WSOC-FM morning guy Jeff Roper against former on-air sidekick Carrie Ann Boggess will not start now until September in federal court. It's definitely an ugly back-and-forth on this one: Roper's lawyers have asked that the case be dismissed, Boggess and her lawyer have raised questions about Roper's mental health, and it all looks to be nasty stuff a-coming down the pike unless there's some sort of settlement before September.

Boggess is no longer with WSOC-FM and claims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Roper is now working in Columbia, after parting ways with the station.

Stay tuned.

E-mail at Shannon.Reichley@cln.com.

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